Baburam Bhattarai forms national government

Kathmandu: Nepal Premier Baburam Bhattarai on Saturday formed a national unity government by appointing 12 ministers from the main opposition parties, two days after his cabinet quit as part of a negotiated effort to quell political tumult in the country.

The Premier formed the government as per the deal reached among the major political parties on Thursday night to expedite the peace process and to draft the new Constitution within the May 27 deadline.

The 12-member cabinet included two deputy Prime Ministers. The Prime Minister inducted ministers from UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) in the cabinet. He appointed Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and four other ministers from the UCPN-Maoist. However, their portfolio are not yet decided.

The Prime Minister also appointed Bijaya Gachhadar as Deputy Prime Minister with the portfolio of Home Affairs and four other ministers from Joint Democratic Madhesi Front.

Bijaya Gachhadar is the president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum-Democratic, one of the parties belonging to the five grouping of the Madhes based parties.

Hridayesh Tripathi from Terai Madhes Democratic Party has been appointed Minister without portfolio while Raj Kishor Yadav has been appointed to the Minister for Information and Communication from Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum-Republic.

Mahendra Yadav from Terai Madhes Democratic Party-Nepal, has been appointed Minister for Irrigation and Rajendra Mahato from Sadbhawana Party has been appointed Minister for Health.

Krishna Sitaula, general secretary of Nepali Congress has been appointed Minister for Defence and Surya Man Gurung from the same party has been appointed Minister without portfolio.

Bhattarai administered oath of office to two Deputy Prime Ministers and nine ministers at Rastrapati Bhawan in the presence of President Ram Baran Yadav. However, Health Minister Rajendra Mahato could not take oath of office as he was out of Kathmandu.

Maoist chief Prachanda and Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala were present on the occasion. CPN-UML, the third largest party in the Constituent Assembly is expected to join the cabinet tomorrow.

This government will last for less than one month as the major parties have agreed to form a national government led by the Nepali Congress before May 27 as per the 5-point deal which would promulgate the Constitution within the stipulated time frame.